Congratulations on taking the first step toward getting your General class amateur radio license. You are opening up the world of HF operations with new privileges from the FCC.
I’m Jim, N4BFR, and I’ll be your instructor for this course. In this preview lesson, I’ll take you through our method of teaching. We’re using eight questions from the actual General class question pool.
Of the 765,000 ham radio operators in the United States, only half achieve a higher level of license, so it’s quite a prestigious achievement. And we’ll take you through all the material step by step in an easy to understand course.
With a General class license, you’ll receive broader operating privileges including:
Let’s get into a preview of some material on the exam.
As a General class ham radio operator, you receive new privileges. This gives you access to several ham radio bands and parts of bands you do not get to use as a Technician.
This section will cover what’s generally referred to as the HF bands, 160 meters to 10 meters. There are 10 unique HF – or high frequency – bands within that range.
As a General class operator, you have access to “some” usage of all the amateur radio bands. Notice we said “some.” Four HF bands have segments allocated only for Amateur Extra licensees. Those are 80 meters, 40 meters, 20 meters and 15 meters.
Within those four specific bands, you will always find the Amateur Extra section in the lower portion of the band. This means that General class hams use the upper frequency portion when using those four bands.
If you are in the lower 48 states and hear another U.S. station calling “CQ DX,” it’s not a call for you. They are calling for any stations outside the lower 48 states. DX means “distant” in this case.
When you contact another ham, one of the first things you do is exchange a signal report. Signal reports are typically exchanged at the beginning of an HF contact.
Perhaps a family member or a neighbor will ask you: “Why are we hearing distorted speech coming from the stereo?” That device may be experiencing RF interference from a single-sideband phone signal. This generally is caused by common-mode current on an audio cable. You can reduce this if you place a ferrite choke on the cable. You may have a ferrite choke on your computer’s mouse cable.
What happens if that same home stereo is picking up interference from an operating CW transmitter? You’ll probably hear on-and-off humming or clicking. A ferrite choke should help here, too.
A dipole antenna with a single center support is called an inverted V because of its shape. The position of the feed point changes the antenna. That includes changes to height, or moving it off center.
You can adjust feed-point impedance by changing the height above ground. In a horizontal half-wave dipole, impedance steadily decreases as the antenna’s height is reduced to 1/10 wavelength above ground. On an 80-meter dipole, that’s a height of 8 meters, or about 26 feet above ground – a handy tuning tip!
So that’s it for our preview video lesson. Now, read the text lesson below to reinforce the concepts, and take the quiz at the end of the lesson to test your knowledge.
Then sign up for the full course! That includes all the lessons as well as unlimited practice tests to make sure you are 100 percent ready for your exam. Course access never expires, so you can study stress-free at your own pace.
Good luck on the quiz and I’ll see you in the course!
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